Just Love Them

9/12/2012

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Jesus replied:“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment.And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ –Matthew 22:37-39


 There I was in a Costa Rican infirmary.

 “Hey, this could be interesting! I wonder what happened next?”

 Nothing happened. I wasn’t even sick.

 “Hey, this is not a very interesting story after all!”

Perhaps. But for me at least, it’s exciting when God speaks something into my heart. I was sitting on the ground outside the one-room infirmary at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens in Vara Blanca while a member of our church’s youth group took a nap. She wasn’t feeling well and so after lunch we asked if there was a place she could lie down. I sat outside and thought about our life-changing week working with the children at Roblealto Child Care Association in San Jose (www.roblealto.org). It was not a short nap, so I had time to think about other things, too. That’s when God impressed something on my heart, which is this:

           Stop trying to figure people out. Just love them.

Now, my family will tell you that this was not a new message. In fact, they tell me that frequently: “Stop trying to fix me,” or “Stop trying to figure me out.” I’m like the kid who gets his first chemistry set and suddenly thinks he’s a scientist! One of my heroes got the same message from his wife. For twenty years after her death, former UCLA coach John Wooden kept a note that she had written to him following one of their few arguments that said: “Don’t try to figure me out. Just love me.”

Now if you’re a psychiatrist or a therapist and someone has asked you to do some spelunking inside their head, that’s great. But when you leave the office, it’s probably a good idea to leave your PhD on the wall!

Not convinced? OK, let’s say for the sake of argument that you are successfully able to figure someone out. All of them, every bit—like an algebra equation. You have reduced the variable of your friend, enemy, or family member and now X = 5. What then? If you told them everything about themselves, do you think they’ll say, “Oh, I didn’t realize that! I’ll be different from now on!” Not likely. You’ll have better luck trying to convince someone to change political parties! And now that you’ve figured them out, will they be easier to love? I believe the answer is “no.” In fact, the opposite might even be true.

You see, God figured us out before we were even born. He created us to be awesome reflections of His glory and gave us every gift that we need. He sees every sin of omission and commission in our lives and it’s hard to imagine that He doesn’t get disappointed in us. But He still loves us—it’s in His very nature. (God is love – 1 John 4:16)

If I can figure someone out—which I can’t—it might make it easier to like them or interact with them or understand why they hurt me. But Jesus didn’t say, “I command you to figure each other out.” He said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The Waterfall Park was beautiful, but I couldn’t take it with me. The message from God, however, did make the flight home: Stop wasting your time trying to figure people out—just love them.

Go and do likewise!

Prayer: Dear God, you know us intimately. If we knew you intimately, we would love everybody all the time, no matter how they treat us or how they react to us. Help us to let go enough to love the way Jesus loves. Help us to choose to love so that we can reflect your glory. Thanks for loving us first. Amen.

 

 

 

 

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